Title: Dead Man’s Bridge (Jake Cantrell Mystery #1)
Author: Robert J. Mrazek
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Format: eBook, Print
Length: ~288 pages
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Disgraced former army officer Jake Cantrell and his pal, Bug, a wolf-dog he saved while in Afghanistan and the only friend he has left, try to put their bitter pasts behind them as Jake finds employment at the bottom rung of the campus security ladder of a small upstate New York college. But things only turn for the worse when the college’s richest and most powerful alumnus is found hanging from a campus footbridge on the eve of homecoming weekend.
Jake is convinced the man was murdered, but with no honor to his name, no one agrees—at least not until a second body is found hanging from the same bridge. Unable to push aside his military training, Jake and Bug finds themselves working to bring justice to the small college town. But as a vicious hurricane sweeps up the Eastern seaboard and the college’s homecoming weekend rapidly unfolds, the clock is ticking and it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again.
From award-winning author Robert Mrazek, comes Dead Man’s Bridge, the first in a new heart-pounding mystery series sure to keep readers hooked until the very last page.
♦ Personal Thought ♦
Robert J. Mrazek is a new author to me and Dead Man’s Bridge is a debut novel to a new cozy mysteries series. So I was quite excited at the chance of reading it. the book proves to be an compelling introduction to Mrazek’s writing; it was hilarious, thought provoking, yet touching.
The story was told in first person from Jake Cantrell’s POV. A former college football star and Army Ranger who took the fall for mission going awry, he now worked as campus police officer at his former campus. To say he’s a man down on his luck was an understatement. The love of his live had deserted him to marry his best friend, his dog was on borrowed time with his doggy life, he didn’t like his job, his superior and the local sheriff disliked him; he basically lived on alcohol to numb his feelings. But everything turned into disorder when the campus president being blackmailed and body counts start to rise on the campus homecoming weekend.
As the start to “Jake Cantrell’s Mystery”, this book gave a glimpse of Jake’s background and the man’s character. I liked his insouciant personality and loyalty to those he considers friends. The stance and expression he employed often had me hovering between mirth and exasperation. Mrazek truly gave life to his book with this character.
As for the mystery-solving, it’s as good as can be expected from one with less than ideal authority and resources. While I wasn’t too happy with the conclusion, it wasn’t too out of left field either. Perhaps, considering the ending, some of this case’s going to find a way to the next book. At least, if nothing else, I hope it cured Jake of his long infatuation. On another note, I didn’t totally buy the superior’s sudden change of heart other than it being convenient for Jake’s benefit. That saying, overall I’m quite chuffed and entertained with Dead Man’s Bridge and look forward to more of Jake Cantrell’s adventures.
Advanced copy of this book is kindly provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.